Born on 3 December 1856 at Rochdale, he worked half-time as a cotton spinner from the age of 10, and became full-time at 13. He remained loyal to his Wesleyan upbringing and was a lifelong teetotaler. He became involved in the local co-operative movement and in the Bolton and District Operative Spinners Association, being appointed its secretary in 1896 and a representative to the inaugural conference of the Labour Representative Committee in 1900. Respected for his moderate views, he became a magistrate in 1899. From 1903 to 1907 he was a representative to the Trades Union Congress, presiding over its meeting in Bath in 1907. At the 1906 and 1910 general elections he was returned as a member for Bolton. He campaigned to improve working conditions and workmen's compensation. Following a heart attack in June 1913, he died at Bolton on 27 August 1914.